Tenerife to Brazil – Day 14

Reading: An Unsung Hero (Michael Smith) – no reading at all today!
Weather: Very light winds and hot, hot, hot again ….
Thought for the day: You can have enough of rain, even when it is warm ….
Evening meal: Mexican style chili with beans, guacamole, rice and salad
Course: 195oC towards the equator – engine on until 6pm
Distance covered: At 1200 we had done 1,855 miles
Wildlife headcount: Another booby of some sort with a bright blue beak …..

We are approaching the equator fast, but the doldrums won’t let us go. Today it rained, and rained and then just carried on. Very occasionally there would be a short patch of bright sky to tease us, but then another squall. The wind varied. We had up to a force 6 in one squall, but in the rest of the squalls there was occasionally a 3-4. Otherwise very little wind, but still lots of sea (where is it coming from?), so the rock and roll continued ….

At midday we tried putting the main up, but that just lasted for lunch. There was simply not enough to fill it, so down it came again before we came off watch. The weather reports are showing the SE trades where we are, but the trade winds don’t seem to have read the weather reports as they are staying resolutely further south, so we continue ploughing south under engine, bouncing and rolling around.

The day was like being in a washing cycle. Start by getting into waterproofs, move into the wash cycle getting hot and wet on deck, then the rinse cycle, getting out of waterproofs and changing (because they can’t keep out this tropical rain!) and then getting hot below in the drier. Wash, rinse, repeat ….. A fun day! Let’s hope we can start to approach the trades tomorrow. We should then be close-hauled and heading south, but given the predictability of the doldrums, anything could happen.

Then finally … at 6pm we seemed to break out and all changed. Everyone switched into overdrive (though I stayed on normal speed – I know which wins out of the tortoise and the hare!) and up went the main, the mizzen and the jib and at last, we were sailing. The breeze was from the SE and at about 55-60o to the wind we were making around 7 knots. Perfect sailing, would it last? Well I think we know the answer to that, but for the time being it is nice. Speculation now turned to when we would cross the equator and by the time we went off watch at midnight, it looked like we were going to be disturbed in the middle of our off watch time. Ah well, it only happens once!